Republic of Ireland news

John Downey given date to appeal proposed extradition

John Downey pictured during a previous court hearing

JOHN Downey has been given a date to appeal his proposed extradition to Northern Ireland.

The 67-year-old, whose trial for the IRA's Hyde Park bombing collapsed in controversy five years ago, is wanted by prosecutors over the murders of two UDR soldiers in 1972.

Lance Corporal Alfred Johnston and Private James Eames were killed when a device exploded in a vehicle they were checking in Enniskillen.

Mr Downey was arrested last November at his home in Co Donegal on foot of a European Arrest Warrant.

The High Court in Dublin ordered his extradition in March, despite objections on grounds of delay and a letter of assurance he believes amounts to a pardon or amnesty.

Mr Downey's trial in relation to the 1982 London Hyde Park bombing, in which four soldiers and seven horses were killed, collapsed in February 2014 over a letter sent to him and others saying they were not wanted for prosecution for Troubles offences.

Mr Downey has lodged an appeal against his proposed extradition.

During case management procedures yesterday, the President of the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice George Birmingham, fixed May 27 as the date for hearing the appeal.

In the High Court previously, Mr Downey's lawyers said their client was not in good health, faced the prospect of a lengthy trial process and there was no guarantee he would be admitted to bail.

Questions were also raised over whether alleged evidence in relation to the 1972 bombing still exists.

A judge rejected the objections and said it was “clear that the public interest in his surrender is extremely high in light of the offences”.

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